Unique Binary Star System
2339 of 4075

Unique Binary Star System

April 2, 2008

A newly discovered star system called "a yellow supergiant eclipsing binary" contains two very bright, massive yellow stars. They are orbiting each other so closely, they share stellar material, and the system resembles a peanut. Such systems could be progenitors of unusual yellow supernovas.

The Ohio State University astronomers and their colleagues believe the two stars in the system, 13 million light years away and tucked inside a small galaxy known as Holmberg IX, appear to be nearly identical, each 15 to 20 times the mass of our Sun.

Most stars end their life in a supernova at the cooler red end of the temperature scale and a few end in the hotter blue end, Pietro said. Astronomers didn't believe stars would end during the short transitional phase in between--until now.

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